That's it! Holidays are finished and it's now time to go back to
I saw and ate amazing things in South Korea and I think it could be great to share with you some recipes from the Land of The Morning Calm. And maybe one or two holidays pix.
And what better start for this serie of recipes than some kimchi!
Kimchi is to Korean people what bread is to French. You litterally eat it at EVERY meal. Yes, even for breakfast for the most traditional people. Or if you're in a plane from Dubaï to Seoul where they served us kimchi at 4.00AM with our breakfast meal!
You can eat it on its own as a banchan (side dish) or you can use it to cook lots and lots of differents recipes, from soups to stews. I don't even think with have something that versatile in french cuisine!
The more popular kimchi in Europe is the cabbage one. Chinese cabbage is let to ferment with vegetable, garlic, fish sauce and pepper. The time of fermentation depends on the taste you want to achieve, the season or even the region of Korea you're in. Each area has its own recipe! Some recipes you can keep for a year ; other you need to eat within days. There is hundreds types of kimchi, with radish, cucumber, fern, ... my favourite one being the one made with young leeks.
And did I mentionned that they have fridges specially designed for kimchi? A bit more convenient than the traditional way of conservation that is to store the kimchi in a big earthenware pot outside.
Here you can see the earthenware pots used to store kimchi but also miso paste and kochuchang (red pepper paste).
On the pictures below, you can see a "banchan buffet" in a Korean supermarket : it's just a huge "kimchi bar"!! Any kind of vegetables, plants, seafood, you name it and you can be sure that they kimchi-ed it! :)
I will give you here the recipe that my best friend teached me something like 10 years ago. Can't really believe it has already been 10 years since the first time I tried kimchi, kimbap, pajeon, bulgogi, kochuchang and all the others treasures of Korean cuisine.
For this recipe, you'll need a bit of time, not that the recipe is really difficult to make, but you'll need to let the cabbage rest a little before turning it into kimchi.
- 1 large chinese cabbage (called eather Pe-Tsaï , Napa Cabbage or Chinese Leaf (
- 30g ground rice or glutinous rice flour (or plain flour if you can't find the rice one)
- 125ml water
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 50g of korean chili spices
- 1 Tbsp of fresh grated ginger
- a splash of fish sauce
- a small onion thinly sliced
- a bunch of green onions
- some asian chives if you can find them.
- First, you'll need to cut your cabbage in half. Then slice each half in the middle hard part (the core) but not through the leaves. (see in the picture below).
- Then soak the cabbage in cold water to rinse it.
- In a "giant" salad bowl, take each half of the cabbage and start sprinkle some salt between each set of leaves. A bit fastidious!
- Set this aside for a 5-6 hours, depending on how hard the core of your cabbage is. I generally let it rest overnight.
- When the cabbage is really soft, you can rinse it thoroughly (at least 3 times) and then let it dry a bit.
It's now time to prepare the kimchi paste!
- In a small pan, heat together the water mixed with the rice flour.
- When the mixture becomes translucent and thick, add the sugar. (it basically looks like a wallpaper glue!)
- When the mixture starts to bubble, it's done.
- Pour it in a big salad bowl and let it cool done a bit before adding the chili spices, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, green onions (green cut in 4cm long bits and white part thinly sliced). Mix everything well together.
- Now put some rubber gloves on (no kidding, don't do it barehands or you'll regret it!) and start spreading the mixture between each set of leaves.
- Put in an airtight container or a glass jar but don't overpacked it.
- Let it at ambiant temperature for 2 days before putting it in the fridge.
I know it's a bit like Marmite : some love it, some hate it. Personally, I luv it!!!